Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars. Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Heinlein’s Red Planet. These and so many more inspired generations of readers with a sense that science fiction’s greatest wonders did not necessarily lie far in the future or light-years across the galaxy but were to be found right now on a nearby world tantalizingly similar to our own—a red planet that burned like an ember in our night sky . . . and in our imaginations.
This new anthology of fifteen all-original science fiction stories, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, celebrates the Golden Age of Science Fiction, an era filled with tales of interplanetary colonization and derring-do. Before the advent of powerful telescopes and space probes, our solar system could be imagined as teeming with strange life-forms and ancient civilizations—by no means always friendly to the dominant species of Earth. And of all the planets orbiting that G-class star we call the Sun, none was so steeped in an aura of romantic decadence, thrilling mystery, and gung-ho adventure as Mars.
Join Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, , and others in this brilliant retro anthology that turns its back on the cold, all-but-airless Mars of the Mariner probes and instead embraces an older, more welcoming, more exotic Mars: a planet of ancient canals cutting through red deserts studded with the ruined cities of dying races.
Here are my thoughts then on 15 novellas in this anthology.
Martian Blood by Allen M Steele
There is life on Mars. We invade. I liked this story
The Ugly duckling by Matthew Hughes
A good story about an archaeologist on duh, Mars.
The wreck of the Mars Adventure by David D Levine
Captain Kidd takes his ship and sails to mars. Yes, that was one for the imagination.
Swords of Zar-tu-kan by S.M.Stirling
A kidnapping. A rather meh story.
Shoals by Mary Rosenblum
It started off a bit boring, but then the Martians came and it turned good.
In the tombs of the Martian Kinds by Mike Resnick.
Another one that picked up after a while, and one that I would read more about.
Out of Scarlight by Liz Williams
There had been Martians there once? or not? Good
The dead sea-bottom scrolls by Howard Waldrop
Old Mars. A travel log. meh
A man without honor by James SA Corey
A story entirely in cursive. Whyyyy?
Written in dust by Melina M Snodgrass
I get why there are Martians in every tale. It's old school, before we knew that there are no Martians. Still at least some could live underground or something so I could believe
But hey, still good story about memories, I got off track.
The lost canal by Michael Moorcock
Note to self. Do not stop reading in the middle of a short story, it's hard to get back into it.
THE SUNSTONE, by Phyllis Eisenstein
Another archaeologist finds his way. Good.
KING OF THE CHEAP ROMANCE, by Joe R. Lansdale
A girl finding danger on the ice. Weird old Mars
MARINER, by Chris Roberson
How unlucky can a man be? Ok
THE QUEEN OF NIGHT’S ARIA, by Ian McDonald
Finally a bit of war. We have been way too friendly so far, and humans are not that nice.
Some good ones, some I wanted more of, some ok ones. You know, the usual find in an anthology. There are always styles you like, styles you do not care for, and styles you did not know you would enjoy, and did.
These are not about Mars now. Instead we have to believe that we knew less about Mars, back to the time where Mars could have held all kinds of wonders. Martians, cities, you name it.
Interesting read, and well, I am all Marsed out now.
Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 25th 2015 by Titan Books (first published October 8th 2013)
Anthology, Science fiction